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Important Chinese Qing Famille Rose Porcelain Vase

East Asia, China, Qing Dynasty, probably Qianlong or Jiaqing reigns, ca. 1735 to 1820 CE. A stunning yellow-ground porcelain vase of the Famille Rose style. Two scenes of birds on a white background appear, one depicting two black and grey sparrow-like birds standing in a scene with cherry blossoms and a rose, the other depicting two birds-of-paradise with long blue tails and red crests who inhabit a landscape of bamboo and large pink flowers. The rest of the vessel exterior is painted with a yellow background covered with a dense profusion of red, blue, and green foliage and large flowers. Two mythological animal head handles project from the shoulder, each elaborate and gilded. The interior of the vase is pale teal, almost Tiffany blue to the modern eye. On the underside is a four-character kaishu (normal script) style seal in blue. Size: 5.25" W x 7.25" H (13.3 cm x 18.4 cm)

Famille rose bowls were first developed in the Yongzheng reign (ca. 1723 to 1735), and are characterized by decoration in opaque overglaze rose colors. This represented a new style of pigment for Chinese porcelain; the pigment could be fired at a lower temperature. The color range was wider, and individual colors appeared soft and gentle, giving the style another name, "ruan cai," which means "soft colors." During the Qianlong reign, yellow-ground became common (Yongzheng examples feature rose-colored artwork on a white background), as did the fine outlines you can see here around the motifs on the piece.

A larger and more ornate example sold at Christie's London in 2011: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/a-fine-famille-rose-vase-daoguang-period-5430816-details.aspx. It sold for 181,250 GBP ($242044.88).

Condition: Intact, with light patina from age and handling, most visible on the teal interior, and slight wear to the gilding on the animal heads.

Provenance: private Massachusetts, USA collection; purchased from AJ Auctions, New York, USA, January 31, 2016; ex private California, USA collection

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